Wissahickon School District launched a multi-year, high-quality, sustained professional development focused on cultural responsiveness and racial equity in 2020-2021. Each professional development session offers layered activities to support and foster equity and inclusion among staff, students, and administration. The districtwide learning opportunities, along with the administrative team’s train-the-trainer sessions, work in alignment to create equitable environments and outcomes that support all students’ social, emotional, mental, behavioral, and academic wellness.
The District’s professional development will continue to incorporate staff feedback, qualitative and quantitative data, and program appraisals to address the following:
- A culture of belonging and dignity that celebrates diversity and appreciates and welcomes all
- Professional strategies and practices using a strengths-based approach
- A continuation of professional learning communities for educators to collaborate and share ideas
- A comprehensive review of curricula to ensure culturally-relevant and inclusive topics to enhance students’ critical thinking skills and prepare them for global citizenry.
- A review of areas, such as Special Education, Gifted Support, and Advanced Placement (AP) programs, to maintain equitable approaches to multiple learning pathways for ALL students to experience success.
- A microstudy of the District’s Code of Conduct, discipline procedures, to ensure that all students are treated with dignity and that restorative practices and culturally-responsive interventions are an integral part of the process
- A commitment to a hiring process that seeks to recruit and retain a teaching staff that reflects the student body in terms of racial/ethnic composition.
Professional Development Titles
2021-2022 School Year
- The Water We Live In: Making the Invisible Visible (November 2021)
- Who I Am: Uncovering Positionality (January 2022)
- The Stories We Carry: Storytelling for Deeper Reflection & Insight (May 2022)
Ongoing learning at the school level includes Train-the-Trainer activities to support administrators in facilitating professional development aimed at establishing culturally responsive and inclusive practices.
2020-2021 School Year
- Culturally Responsive Teaching (November 2020)
- Implicit Bias in Schools (February 2021)
- Engaging in Critical Discourse with Yourself, Colleagues, and Students (May 2021)
As a district, we are committed to our membership with local and regional organizations that provide opportunities for inter-district collaboration and leadership learning for addressing equity matters.